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The EFL weekend preview is here from lower league pundit Gab Sutton.

Gab Sutton picks his best bet for the weekend’s action – his NAP is an 8/11 in League Two!

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Live Odds
Peterborough United v Barnsley

Peterborough United23/20



Live odds subject to change

Bolton Wanderers v Bristol Rovers

Bolton Wanderers4/6


Bristol Rovers10/3

Live odds subject to change

Ipswich Town v Fleetwood Town

Ipswich Town3/10


Fleetwood Town7/1

Live odds subject to change

Morecambe v Exeter City



Exeter City20/21

Live odds subject to change

Plymouth Argyle v Port Vale

Plymouth Argyle21/20


Port Vale21/10

Live odds subject to change

Charlton Athletic v Cheltenham Town

Charlton Athletic4/6


Cheltenham Town10/3

Live odds subject to change

Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday

Derby County15/8


Sheffield Wednesday5/4

Live odds subject to change

MK Dons v Burton Albion

MK Dons5/4


Burton Albion9/5

Live odds subject to change

Shrewsbury Town v Lincoln City

Shrewsbury Town6/5


Lincoln City2/1

Live odds subject to change

Forest Green Rovers v Cambridge United

Forest Green Rovers29/20


Cambridge United13/8

Live odds subject to change

Accrington Stanley v Oxford Utd

Accrington Stanley15/8


Oxford Utd23/20

Live odds subject to change

Wycombe Wanderers v Portsmouth

Wycombe Wanderers11/8



Live odds subject to change

Sunderland v Millwall

Millwall to win

Gary Rowett is one of the most solid, reliable and underrated managers in the Championship.

Barring a tough stint at Stoke, where every subsequent boss has been unable to deliver, Rowett has hit or exceeded a 7/10 job everywhere he’s been, and has the Lions in the top six of the second-tier, on a bottom six budget.

Rowett’s next challenge is to combine the defensive resolve his side have shown in previous seasons, to keep 44 clean sheets in his first 125 games in charge, with the attacking promise they’ve displayed in this one.

Switching from 5-3-2 to the 4-2-3-1 more commonly associated with Rowett’s Birmingham and Derby sides has seen improvement, with the South Bermondsey outfit subsequently taking 18 points from nine games – conceding just six goals.

The centre-back pairing between Charlie Cresswell and Jake Cooper has been effective, Billy Mitchell has brought tenacity and dynamism in midfield, while the change in formation has allowed Millwall an extra attacking player to support Zian Flemming, Tom Bradshaw and Andreas Voglsammer.

Flemming was very much the star of the 4-2 victory at PNE last time out, Bradshaw bagged a hat-trick in the 3-0 thumping of Watford and Voglsammer – hardworking with a hammer of a shot on him – is not far off a run of goals either.

With that in mind, the Lions look good value to tick off three points at Sunderland.

The Black Cats won 2-1 at Birmingham last time out thanks to an incredible left-footed strike from Amad Diallo, who looks a real star on loan from Manchester United, but it was a bit of a squeeze in the second half and they were lucky to hang on to the victory.

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“In the Championship’s only game this weekend, I see Millwall seizing the opportunity to move up to fourth. Gary Rowett’s side have lost just one of their last nine and look very close to connecting the defensive solidity we normally associate with them, with the flashes of attacking promise displayed by Tom Bradshaw and Zian Flemming.”

Gab Sutton

Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday to win


Derby are nine unbeaten in all competitions, having drawn in 90 minutes in that sequence with Torquay and Liverpool!

Despite this run, the Rams haven’t yet secured back-to-back league wins under Paul Warne’s tutelage, after the boss left Rotherham for his current job in late-September.

Sheffield Wednesday have won five of their last six in all competitions, losing on penalties to Southampton, but in 90 minutes they’re undefeated in 11.

The Owls have unique squad depth which allows them to be competitive on multiple fronts, so if Darren Moore’s side were to extended their FA Cup run after facing Newcastle in the 3rd Round, they would still have the resources to preserve their league form.

Wednesday have an excellent winger, for instance, in Alex Mighten, on loan from Nottingham Forest, but it could be argued that the 19-year-old doesn’t get into their best XI.

Moore may want to start two up top, because the partnership between mobile target man Michael Smith and hardworking poacher Lee Gregory has so much potential.

He may also want to operate with a box midfield, with ball-recycler George Byers and dynamo Tyreeq Bakinson anchoring things, handing creative licence to the vibrant Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Barry Bannan, arguably the best player in League One.

If that leaves them short on width, though, then Moore has the option of switching to a 4-3-3 by bringing on Mighten and Mallik Wilks.

With that sort of embarrassment of riches, Wednesday may be able to inflict on Derby a first 90-minute defeat in nine.

Warne’s team have an outside chance of reaching the Play-Offs, but could struggle to match their hosts.

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“By current projections, it’ll be possible to get 97 points in League One this season and still miss out on automatic promotion! As such, Ipswich, Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday have to be put in almost a different bracket to the rest, so I’m delighted to take the latter at odds-against quotes here.”

Gab Sutton

Milton Keynes Dons v Burton Albion

Burton to win and Both Teams To Score

Saturday’s clash at Stadium:MK is one of Saturday’s crucial games in League One.

Both sides find themselves in the relegation zone on 14 points, though MK Dons have played one game fewer, and six points adrift of safety.

Relegation six-pointers are normally tight, tense affairs but a draw wouldn’t do much good to either side, so we could see a more stretched, end-to-end encounter as both sense an opportunity.

The difference between the sides, though, would be that Burton currently look likelier to pull themselves out of the mire.

Led by the passionate Dino Maamria, the Brewers look more inventive in open play than they did under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, when there had been a heavy reliance on set pieces and individual opposition errors.

Last season, whenever the Albion faced a rear-guard that could head balls out of the box from crosses, set pieces and long-throws without making any major mistakes, they were short of ideas.

This time, they can open up those kind of defences with more energy, more positivity and better co-ordinated combination play.

Hasselbaink, for instance, used Deji Oshilaja as a holding midfielder and rarely allowed him to go forward, but Maamria has deployed the athletic utility man as a box-to-box type, someone capable of pushing into the penalty area to occupy a defender, thus allowing more space for hit-man Victor Adeboyejo to relish a physical duel.

Burton have a chance of clawing Accrington Stanley, Cambridge and Cheltenham into the relegation mix despite the current deficit, whereas MK Dons look in need of a midfield rethink, as well as fresh ideas in the more general sense.

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“I think it’ll be a high-scoring game due to the position both teams are in, and Burton have been playing better lately so I feel they might take the honours in this six-pointer!”

Gab Sutton

Hartlepool United v Stockport County

Half-Time/Full-Time: Draw/Stockport

In some quarters of Victoria Park, Hartlepool’s clash with Stockport would be considered a grudge match.

Dave Challinor led Pools to National League promotion in 2020-21, but left them in the top half of League Two the following season, in acrimonious circumstances.

Challinor had been furious when Rhys Oates left the club without keeping staff in the loop in the summer, but he then had conversations with Stockport slightly underhandedly.

Attitudes towards Challinor may have changed in places since then, as the issues with how Hartlepool are run by Raj Singh are more widely known than they were 13 months ago, when a higher proportion of locals were in favour of the current regime.

The Liverpudlian would have welcomed an opportunity to move closer to home, at a club that had a stronger structure, more money, and a better chance of meeting his long-term ambitions as a manager.

His reasons may have been valid, and the reaction to his return will not be as vitriolic as it might have been had he returned the following week as County boss, but there will still be a portion of Poolies who remain hurt by what he chose.

Putting aside the perceived ethics of the move, it would be hard to argue, in the cold light of day, that Challinor didn’t make the best choice for his career.

The 47-year-old subsequently led Stockport to the National League title last season, and while they are currently midtable in League Two, performances suggest a team more than capable of putting a run together and securing a top seven berth.

Hartlepool, meanwhile, are fighting with Colchester, Rochdale and Gillingham to save their EFL status.

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“Hartlepool will start with a high-intensity as parts of their fanbase will be keen to make a point to their former manager, but in the second half I think Stockport’s superior depth and quality will come to the fore.”

Gab Sutton

Mansfield Town v Colchester United

Mansfield to win

Mansfield are hoping a promising performance in their 2-1 FA Cup defeat to League One promotion contenders Sheffield Wednesday can give them the confidence they need to fire their own promotion push, in League Two, into life.

The Stags were just a point off the automatic spots with a game in hand after a 2-1 victory over Walsall, but a run of one league win in six has seen Nigel Clough’s side slip to eighth, with some unconvincing performances.

Town have a good core of experienced players who have excelled at this level before, or played higher, but they miss a smattering of pace, energy and exuberance.

Clough hopes Kellan Gordon, Hiram Boateng, George Lapslie and Will Swan can bring enough of the dynamism required between now and January, when he will be keen to rejuvenated the squad with some fresh legs.

While this Stags squad is not quite as rounded as natives would ideally like, it should have enough to see off the threat of Colchester, who need a busy January themselves.

Sporting Director Dmitri Halajko has promised there will be funds available to Head Coach Matt Bloomfield, who needs the autonomy to do the job, without too much interference from elsewhere.

In the meantime, Bloomfield will be looking to build on the formula that saw his side produce a shock 3-0 victory over Play-Off contenders Doncaster, thanks to goals from Alex Newby, Samson Tovide and Luke Hannant.

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“Mansfield hope to use their performance at Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup, even in defeat, as a springboard for their promotion challenge in League Two. I see the Stags justifying odds-on quotes against Colchester.”

Gab Sutton

Rochdale v Harrogate Town

Double Chance: Draw/Harrogate

Each of Rochdale’s last five games, in all competitions, have finished 1-0 – unfortunately, only once, against Salford, has that been with themselves on the right side of those fine margins.

The Dale have a good goalkeeper in Richard O’Donnell, with the veteran being one of the few to come out of the season so far with some credit, but in other aspects of their game they rely on creator Ethan Brierley and target man Scott Quigley.

The system can be slightly lopsided because manager Jim Bentley feels Ian Henderson, who recently became the club’s record all-time goalscorer, has to play because they’ve only had two goals from midfield all season.

However, Henderson doesn’t win many aerial duels which can be a problem, because Sam Graham and Ethan Ebanks-Landell are no-nonsense centre-backs.

Partnering ‘Hendo’ with Scott Quigley in a front-two would mean veteran Toumani Diagouraga is asked to cover more ground in midfield, while playing him wide in a three compromises width, seeing as Jimmy Keohane and Cameron John aren’t the most explosive full-backs.

Any decision Bentley makes would significantly compromise Rochdale in one key area, so it’s a case of scrambling through in less than ideal circumstances until January, when four or five additions may be required.

Harrogate, however, have found a formula that works for them, thanks to the form of Huddersfield loanee Jaheim Headley and dynamic creator Alex Pattison.

Headley is something of a confidence player and the left-back hadn’t made much of an impression in the early weeks of the season, but he’s registered a goal and an assist in the last three league games.

The 21-year-old was instrumental in the 3-0 victory over Mansfield and brought a new layer of explosivity to his game, which makes the Sulphurites a far more potent attacking threat.

As a result, Pattison is finding more space to make his own penetrative runs, while Danny Grant has been able to twist, turn and tease around the left edges of the penalty box; the trio can be hard to stop.

It’s doubtful that Rochdale have the personnel to keep Headley, Grant and Pattison at bay and as such, there should be chances for Luke Armstrong to poach.

Armstrong was one of the top goalscorers in League Two 14 months ago and while his productivity has since dried up, manager Simon Weaver has been keen to stress that has been because of the lack of service, rather than any fault of his own.

With the team starting to look more creative, Armstrong may have opportunities to finish in the six-yard box, having scored three in his last three league games.

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“Harrogate are only one point above Rochdale, but they’ve impressed me a lot more performance wise in recent weeks, which is why I think the Double Chance at 8/11 is a terrific offer.”

Gab Sutton
Odds are correct at the time of posting

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